Radejcin, North Bohemia, Dec 17 (CTK) – The last completed 12-km section of the Czech D8 motorway connecting Prague with Saxony was ceremonially opened in the presence of President Milos Zeman and a number of Czech and German politicians Saturday, but with traffic restrictions due to an unstable slope.
Only one motorway lane will be open to traffic near the Prackovice viaduct in the Central Bohemian Uplands mountain range.
The construction of D8 lasted 32 years.
The building of the last opened section started in May 2012, with the costs exceeding 10 billion crowns.
The traffic restrictions have been introduced along two kilometres of the section where movements of the mountain land massive have been registered below the motorway’s right lane.
The Road and Motorway Management (RSD) says the restrictions are temporary but their length cannot be predicted.
Transport Minister Dan Tok (for ANO) said the motorway is safe.
Apart from Zeman and Tok, Czech politicians at the opening ceremony included Finance Minister Andrej Babis (ANO) and Usti Region Governor Oldrich Bubenicek (Communists, KSCM).
German representatives included Saxony Minister President Stanislaw Tillich and Economy, Labour and Transport Minister Martin Dulig.
Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka (Social Democrats, CSSD) did not attend the ceremony.
D8, leading from Prague northwards to the German border, is 94 km long.
The construction of the new section between Lovosice and Rehlovice was accompanied by many problems from the beginning.
First, there were lengthy court disputes with environmentalists who promoted a different route across the Central Bohemian Uplands, a valuable nature area.
In June 2013, a part of a completed D8 section was destroyed by a landslide.
The instability of the Prackovice viaduct was registered this October, when it forced the constructors to dismantle a part of the viaduct and remove tens of thousands of tonnes of ground from the surrounding slope.
Vladimir Cajz, a geologist and former expert from the Czech Geological Institute, recently said the dangers posed by D8 still persist. He recommended that the planned opening of the last section be put off.
($1=25.882 crowns)